SYDNEY, Nov 26 Rio Tinto is lining up project financing for a $4 billion expansion of its long-delayed Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and will make a final investment decision early next year, a senior executive said on Thursday.
The mine, which started producing from an open pit over two years ago, is the biggest single foreign investment in Mongolia, and resolution of disputes over its second phase in May revived hopes for a string of other stalled mining projects.
“At the end of the day, what we need is consistency and stability and we believe we have the right environment today,” Rio Tinto copper and coal chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said at a Bloomberg News-sponsored forum.
“As we speak, we are putting together the project finance and anticipate that will happen this year,” he said.
“We expect early in the next year we will be able to take a decision about restarting the underground construction.”
The Anglo-Australian miner’s Turquoise Hill Resources arm owns 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi. The Mongolian government owns the remainder of the project, located in the Gobi desert near Mongolia’s border with China.
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